As said, 2027 and 2030 mark the end of some of SAP’s support deadlines. Companies that fail to move to a new service solution in time could face significant disruptions to their operations, risking the loss of customers. Therefore, planning the transition to a new service solution should be done well in advance of the deadline. This blog sheds light on SAP S/4HANA Service, the service management component embedded in SAP S/4HANA.
By integrating the previously separate SAP ERP customer service solution and SAP CRM service application into one single solution, SAP S/4HANA Service enables companies to streamline their service operations, visualize service processes better and enhance customer experience. At the same time, it is also fully integrated with other SAP S/4HANA processes, including finance, procurement and logistics. As such, SAP S/4HANA Service provides all the processes and functionalities required to contribute to efficient customer services. And for businesses that are evolving from selling products to delivering services, SAP S/4HANA Service has the answers too. So let’s review some of what it has to offer.
A key component of SAP S/4HANA Service is the Interaction Center. It is an efficient collaboration tool, enabling interaction agents to manage all incoming and outgoing interactions with their customers across multiple channels, such as e-mail, phone or chat, and to collaborate with other agents or departments to handle complex customer inquiries.
Figure 1: the Interaction Center desktop is the perfect starting point
Once a customer has been identified, an interaction record is created in which the interaction agent is able to specify details about the interaction. This can be done either by using the scratch pad, an electronic notepad replacing written manual notes, or by adding notes straight into the interaction record. Appointments and tasks can be created as follow-ups to these interaction records and are visible in the Activity Clipboard in the interaction record.
Figure 2: an interaction record includes an activity clipboard
What’s more, the system allows for the creation of a knowledge database of articles, containing useful answers to common problems that customers report. The interaction agent can easily mail the related articles to the customer and if that does not resolve the issue, the agent can create a service request from the interaction record for further processing by a service technician. For each account, the full interaction history is always available for consultation. The Agent Inbox serves as the central location where all interaction agents can view and manage their customer interactions.
Businesses can manage their entire service cycle, from service requests to service confirmations, using the Fiori Service Orders Page. A tile is available for each process. Here is how it works.
Figure 3: Service applications
When service agents receive a service request to resolve a customer issue, they send a service quotation with the proposed services and corresponding prices. Once the customer accepts, a service order is created, stating the services expected from the technician. Upon completion, the technician generates a service confirmation, reporting the working time, the expenses incurred and the service parts used. As the solution is fully integrated with the invoicing and accounting modules, the required billing documents and financial postings are automatically generated.
Repeatedly occurring services can be scheduled using the Recurring Service tool. Such maintenance plans help service organizations to plan services in a more transparent way and avoid costs from unexpected outages or breakdowns.
Case Management enables businesses to consolidate, manage and process information about ‘cases’, complex issues in a central collection point. By automating processes, improving collaboration via real-time chat, document sharing and task management, and by providing analytics and reporting tools, it helps to improve service quality and customer satisfaction.
Companies who need to define and manage the services they provide to their customers for a specific period can turn to the SAP S/4HANA Service Contract Management tool. As from version 2022, two new Fiori apps have been added: Manage Service Contracts and Manage Service Contract Templates. Moreover, service contracts can now be integrated with SAP Credit Management, so that credit checks are triggered when releasing the contracts.
Figure 4: the available service contract apps
The Service Monitoring and Analytics module provides monitoring and analytical features for service order and service contract management. The Service Management Overview app, for example, is a dashboard that offers service professionals a clear visual representation of the current service situation, including expired and expiring service contracts, incomplete and overdue service orders.
Figure 5: the Service Management Overview
Starting from SAP S/4HANA 2022 FPS1, a variety of additional apps are available to analyse the services being executed by the technical teams.
For companies that provide repair services on customer equipment not just in the field but also in-house, the SAP S/4HANA 2022 In-House Repair process has been improved significantly, now covering the process from A to Z.
Figure 6: In-House Repair containing repair object and related status
It includes the whole logistical flow, starting with the customer’s return of damaged equipment, going through complete repair service and ending with the outbound delivery of the repaired object to the customer, followed by adequate billing.
Figure 7: the Perform Prechecks app allows to initiate related follow-up activity for the repair object
Subscription Order Management
This solution is a close integration between sales and service processes that supports the order process. Physical goods, services and subscriptions are combined to enable the transition from a product-based to a service-based business model. The latter allows companies to model new subscription offerings, containing a bundle of products and recurring or one-time services with usage-based charges, revenue sharing models and third-party content.
To manage the subscription processes, specific sales order and contract types are available. Recently, an integration between Subscription Contract and equipment has been added. It allows the support of new business models. For example: a service provider bundles a hardware device like a computer with its corresponding software and services. The bundle is offered for a recurring subscription fee. In this case, the computer (hardware) is created as equipment and linked to the related Subscription Contract. As a result, follow-up activities such as Service Orders can be created for the equipment, referencing the related contract.
Maintenance Service Order Management
Starting from the 2022 SAP S/4HANA version, the Service solution offers the possibility to integrate Service Orders with Maintenance Orders. This enables more detailed resource planning, performed in the Maintenance Order, which functions as a cost collector.
Figure 8: the Service Order item is linked to the Maintenance Order
Figure 9: the Maintenance Order can function both as planning object and cost collector
This approach combines the best of both worlds (see Figure 10: Maintenance Service) and closely resembles the classic CS solution:
- Commercial aspects of traditional Customer Service are moved to the SAP S/4HANA Service process.
- Service planning, scheduling and execution are part of the Maintenance objects as Maintenance Order and Maintenance Confirmation (also see our blog on Full maintenance scope with SAP S/4HANA Asset Management):
- In case of time and material services, the costs of all resources planned in the maintenance order are copied to the related Service Order item.
- Scheduling of the maintenance orders can be performed via Resource Scheduling for Maintenance Planner apps (at an additional license cost).
- Fiori apps such as Perform Maintenance Jobs can be used for confirmation of executed maintenance service on desktops as well as on mobile devices.
Figure 10: Maintenance Service
Why wait to implement the fully embedded and standard SAP S/4HANA Service solution? As an experienced SAP implementation partner, Expertum believes it is a solid replacement for SAP ERP Customer Service and for SAP Customer Relationship Management, the applications that SAP is going to sunset as of 2027. The sooner companies start planning its implementation and integration, the better. As such, they can enjoy all of the options that this Service solution offers, which was truly designed to help provide a superior customer experience, optimize service delivery and increase customer satisfaction.
Want to find out more? Join our (free!) Expert Session on SAP S/4HANA Service Management at the Expertum offices on 11 May! For more info and registration, click here.